More Wildflower Photos from Death Valley, February 2016

Reports are still coming in strong on the excellent wildflower bloom underway this month in Death Valley National Park. These photos are from my scouting trip through the park February 7-11.

Desert Gold and Sand Verbena in Death Valley
Desert gold and sand verbena

As of February 9, some flowers were past prime, others were vigorous, others were just emerging.  Some rain fell a week later, which should extend the season for this year’s already healthy crop.

Ashford Mill to Jubilee Pass
Looking from the Ashford Mill area toward Jubilee Pass

In spite of the hype in the media and on social media, the park is NOT calling it a “super bloom” yet.  In the recent YouTube video titled “Death Valley Exposed: Wildflowers – February 2016“, park ranger Alan Van Valkenburg does imply that it has the potential, perhaps with additional rains:
“If you get the chance to see a bloom in Death Valley, especially a super bloom, you should take the opportunity to see it because it could be a once in a lifetime opportunity.”

In addition to the widely reported strong bloom around Ashford Mill, there was a less dense area of desert gold north of Furnace Creek, up to and through the Beatty Cutoff area. Many other areas were looking basically lifeless in early February, even ones that received a lot of rain. The timing of the rain may not have been early enough for the plants to be far along by that time, and even if plants do get started, they do need additional rain to keep the growth going. Rain last week in mid-February might have helped extend the life of these areas, and the growth of others.

Overall the spring wildflowers in Death Valley are usually very sparse, and the lower elevations tend to peak in March, so outside of the areas I just described, the season seemed normal: nothing much should be expected in early February. The initial strong bloom reported may or may not be followed by decent blooming elsewhere.

For example, I saw healthy growth in November in areas such as the narrow last portion of the Dantes Peak road, so we were expecting the adjacent Greenwater Valley to be going nuts when we returned in February. Instead, it looked even weaker than last year… not much going and much less promising than expected.

So in much of the park, as the initial strong bloom of desert gold fades, the situation may resemble a more normal year, where you can find wildflowers, but it requires some hunting and probably high clearance, if not 4WD.

Here are a few more photographs from my visit to supplement the ones I included in my recent trip report. I drove the park from Dumont Dunes all the way out the top at the town of Big Pine.

Desert gold extensive but thin looking north from the Salt Creek turnoff north of Furnace Creek
Not far from Ashford Mill, south of Badwater
The southern end of Harry Wade Road wasn’t as productive as the north end and and the Ashford Mill area.  Many of the flowers were wilted from heat, and didn’t look like they were going to last much longer, especially the brown-eyed primrose.
Fiats don’t float!  Not in water, not in sand.
Unpaved roads in Death Valley are marked for high clearance or 4WD vehicles for a reason.
It’s not all about the desert gold.  Look closely and you’ll find dozens of species available.
Bear in mind, the park didn’t just suddenly become only about wildflowers!
Miner’s cabin

 

 

 

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How is G+ Doing For You?

Are your posts getting seen? Do you see enough of the posts that your contacts make? How does the overall site feel?

See the comments in the original post for an interesting discussion.
#shakeupthestream

Originally shared by +Tamara Pruessner

New Day's Hope

I have been doing a lot of thinking about how my main stream no longer shows everyone, or even a few and their newest posts, about how my own posts get increasingly smaller interaction, and how if my posts are doing that, then everyone's are. I think the algorithm that governs what we see and what others see of our own stuff has gotten too restrictive. And it frustrates me to no end – especially when I have 100 new posts in my stream and most are either 24 hours old, something I have already seen (and plussed or commented) or both. Fresh isn't happening anymore and it is FRUSTRATING.

I don't normally notify anyone of my posts but for this, I am (and I am not even sure how many will get the notification – over 3500 in my circles). What I am proposing is an experiment of sorts. To all of those that comment on this post, I will go to your stream and plus the heck out of you, comment as much as possible, and over the next week, share a few my favorite posts. Here is the catch – you have to share this post or something similar, calling your own circles to action.

Let's see if we can shake up the algorithm a bit. Let's see if we can take back control of our streams LIKE WE SHOULD HAVE. Let's see if our streams start showing our favorite people again. A week from now, I will make a new post so I can see if my stream has changed… hopefully, mine will and so will yours.

#ShakeUpTheStream #landscapephotography #landscape #Arizona #desert #sunrise

#throughtamseyes

 

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Signs of Hope

Although most of California is experiencing drought, locally in some areas rainfall was just right to produce a good wildflower bloom.  I had seen plants growing here last December following a big monsoon storm in August which washed out many of Death Valley's roads, so I decided to return and see how the wildflowers were doing.  As you can see, I was not disappointed!
www.MyPhotoGuides.com
#DeathValley   #desert   #photography   #DEVA  +Death Valley Workshops 

Although most of California is experiencing drought, locally in some areas rainfall was just right to produce a good wildflower bloom. I had seen plants growing here last December following a big monsoon storm in August which washed out many of Death Valley’s roads, so I decided to return and see how the wildflowers were doing. I was not disappointed!

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Dust Storm in Death Valley

I like how we can just barely make out the highest ridge up towards the top. Nice that the worst of the dust wasn't on the side of the valley we were on… that dust apparently blew away long ago.

My Death Valley album on G+ was getting too large, so I've created a Death Valley 2011 album: 
https://plus.google.com/photos/107459220492917008623/albums/5984750118025645585
Death Valley page on my blog: http://www.jeffsullivanphotography.com/blog/death-valley-photography-workshop-2013/
#deathvalley    #deathvalleyphotography    #landscapephotography   #desert   #desertphotography  

I like how we can just barely make out the highest ridge up towards the top. Nice that the worst of the dust wasn’t on the side of the valley we were on… that dust apparently blew away long ago.

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Water in the Desert

Unfortunately a lot of the water in the desert is so saturated with minerals that you can't drink it.  This is one of those locations which is so remote, you might not see anyone for days.  If your vehicle breaks down, it's a 35 mile hike to the nearest paved road.

I'll be taking a few trips to the Mojave Desert this year, so I'm starting a Mojave Desert album here on G+:
https://plus.google.com/photos/+JeffreySullivan/albums/5972287416282035041
#mojavedesert   #desert   #landscapephotography  

Water in the desert

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Mojave Desert in Spring

I can't wait for Spring in California, although with the lack of rain we've had this winter, I don't know if we'll see any sights like this on from 2011, where miles and miles of this valley were carpeted in yellow goldfields and orange poppies.  I'll be taking at few trips to the Mojave Desert this year, including one for wildflowers and another for night photography.

Google+ no longer accepts keywords for photos and I can't quickly search by keyword to create an album on G+, so to show you more Mojave Desert photos I'll have to refer you to the set I just created from some of my photos over on Flickr: 
http://www.flickr.com/photos/jeffreysullivan/sets/72157640082963326/

Update: I've started to create a Mojave Desert album on G+ through manual uploads:  
https://plus.google.com/photos/107459220492917008623/albums/5972287416282035041
#MojaveDesert   #desert   #desertphotography  
blog: www.myPhotoGuides.com

Mojave Desert, California, Spring 2011

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